Special to the Journal
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Ranking Member of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, released the following statement regarding the passage of a government funding bill, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Congressman Bishop voted in favor of the legislation. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 359 to 67, passed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 72 to 26, and now goes on to the President for signature.“Yesterday, the House of Representatives came together in a bi-partisan fashion to provide our government with a balanced funding bill, which includes the resources it needs to create jobs, boost our economic growth, bolster education, invest in our infrastructure, and support our working families. As the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, I am confident that the FY2014 bill provides our military the resources it needs to defend our country and fund the services our veterans may need to carry out successful, productive lives.
“I am also pleased that the bill cancels the extreme impact another round of sequestration would have made on everyday lives by returning essential education, job training, medical research, worker safety, child care, food safety, and other program accounts back to the pre-sequester levels of 2013. While I believe funding levels are still too low, I am particularly pleased with our provisions for food stamps, nutrition programs, the National Institute of Health’s research, and the FAA’s tower program, in addition to our strong support of key farm, rural development, and conservations programs.
“Unfortunately, the Omnibus Appropriations Bill still falls woefully short in providing an adequate safety net by not including funding for the extension of unemployment benefits while significantly reducing funding for employment and training activities through the Department of Labor. While this legislation is not perfect, I do believe that it provides a working solution to the budget skirmishes that we have become all too accustomed to over the past few years. Certainly, it cannot be understated how important it is to bring Congress’ appropriation process back to regular order, for the betterment of a working government and America as a whole.”
Below is a list of highlights of funding levels and other key provisions in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2014:
MILITARY CONSTRUCTION/VETERANS AFFAIRS – The bill includes funding for key military infrastructure projects to support our troops and their families at home and abroad. It also includes increased funding to meet our obligations to our nation’s veterans including helping to reduce the claims backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Military Construction/Veterans Affairs portion of the Omnibus Appropriations discretionary total is $73.3 billion – $1.4 billion above the enacted Fiscal Year 2013 level. However, the bill also seeks to save taxpayer dollars wherever possible, without impacting critical programs for our military or veterans. For example, the legislation includes rescissions of unused, unobligated funds from previous years, and does not provide funding for several proposed military construction projects that are not justified at this time.
For a video of Congressman Bishop’s remarks regarding the FY 2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations section of the FY2014 Omnibus Bill, please click here.
· The bill specifically includes $7,624,000 for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project and related projects, a major driver of economic development throughout the entire state;
· Funding for the Faith Middle School addition and White Elementary School replacement at Fort Benning;
· Funding for the advanced individual training barracks complex at Fort Gordon;
· Funding for the Diamond Elementary School Replacement at Fort Stewart;
· Funding for the replacement of fuel island at Hunter Army Airfield;
· Funding for the replacement of the ground vehicle fueling facility at Moody Air Force Base;
· Funding for the funding for a Navy dispatch facility and a weapons storage and inspection facility at the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany;
· Funding for the acquisition of land for a Navy bombing range in Savannah.